Community Development Financial Institution Assistance Program (CDFI)

Program Purpose
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) provide micro-loans to businesses who often do not qualify for bank loans, as well as one-on-one counseling and business development assistance to facilitate credit-readiness. 

For a list of Small Business Lending Contacts for ESD’s current CDFI grantees is here, which includes this year’s awardees and previous awardees still under contract.

Program Highlights
Every year CDFIs help thousands of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and most recently small businesses survive and flourish in New York State.  Since 1998, Empire State Development (ESD) has awarded over $17 million in grants to federally-certified CDFIs to assist in their efforts to develop MWBEs and small businesses.  This year ESD awarded $2.99 million in grants to 28 CDFI’s across New York State.  These grant funds were used expressly to strengthen the lending and technical assistance services.  

Eligibility
The organizations provide lending and technical assistance services to small businesses and MWBEs to help these
businesses grow, such as:

  • Assistance with completion of loan applications
  • Business Plan development
  • Mentorship and peer group programs
  • Credit Union services (where available)

Application Process
ESD issues a Request For Proposal (RFP) and considers a number of factors, including:

  • Applicant must be certified by the United States Department of Treasury as a CDFI
  • Applicant must have as a primary focus of its activities the provision of financial services for small businesses, including:
    • Loans
    • performance under previous program grants
    • track record of small business lending
    • institutional capacity and need
    • the merits of the proposed project